OAUSA Net - March 21, 2019 - Camp Cooking Methods

A preview of future nets
User avatar
Site Admin
Posts: 3472
Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2008 10:33 am
Call Sign: K6DTK
Location: Southern California

OAUSA Net - March 21, 2019 - Camp Cooking Methods


Post by DaveK » Tue Mar 19, 2019 10:27 am

This week we will cover different methods for cooking on the trail. With a little luck, the discussion will include everything from camp tools and gear to different methods to actually cook the meal. There is no one correct way, and everyone has a different twist on how it is done best. We will have several guests and methods to cover and we want to hear from you on what works best. Post your favorites and join the discussion.

Pictures, links and text to follow.

Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.
Moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.

User avatar
Global Moderator
Posts: 501
Joined: Fri Apr 18, 2008 6:40 pm
Call Sign: KD6GCO



Post by NotAMog » Wed Mar 20, 2019 5:54 pm

Solar Cooking

Solar cooking is a useful method to prepare food, especially where fuel is in short supply. All it takes is a clear sky and enough daylight time for your food to cook. The equipment is very simple and solar ovens and stoves can be built for very little cost from recycled materials making this method particularly suited for third world countries.

Here in the U.S. solar ovens are available in sizes useful for off road travel. They are best used to conserve fuel while base camping or to have in emergency situations where fuel is not available.

Box Type Ovens

Box type solar ovens have been around for a long time. They consist of an insulated box with a glass window where the cooking takes place and they may or may not add reflectors to increase the heat range. This a a very simple design and can be made from anything from a cardboard box, small ice chest or be purpose built.

This is the most common pre-built solar oven from Sun Oven (http://www.sunoven.com).

Here baking 2 loaves of bread


Here is another image of the oven with a 2 quart casserole


The Sun Oven folded for transport. The cooking pans may be stored in the oven to save some space.


Here you can see the trailer mounted Villerger Oven from Sun Oven. Box type ovens are very easy to scale to the required size.


Vacuum Insulated Cylindrical Oven

This is a more modern, high tech, take on a solar oven. It consists of an evacuated double walled glass cylinder with a black coating on the inner cylinder. The design is much like a thermos bottle. The advantage of this design is that it can get hotter than a box style oven and packs smaller for transport. The disadvantage is the small diameter cylindrical cooking chamber. You just need to adapt your cooking style to the type of oven you have.

For More Information - https://www.gosun.co/


Parabolic Reflector Oven

Another type of solar cooker that can be used either as an oven or as a stove is the parabolic reflector cooker. These are capable of generating very high temperatures and a very bright spot of light in bright sunlight so care must be taken when using them to burns, eye damage, or accidentally catching things on fire. The plus side is that they cook much like a conventional stove top.

The one below is a relatively new product from One Earth Designs - https://www.oneearthdesigns.com/


Links for More Information

https://www.offgridweb.com/gear/5-solar ... -mealtime/

http://homestead-and-survival.com/18-di ... ker-plans/


Bruce Berger
'72 Pinzgauer 710M 2.6i
'91 Honda ST1100 197,000miles and counting :shock: (I hope to make it to at least half the places this bike has been)
'04 Tacoma / AT FlipPac Camper
'07 Moto Guzzi Norge - Corsa Red - The faster color :mrgreen:

User avatar
Site Admin
Posts: 3472
Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2008 10:33 am
Call Sign: K6DTK
Location: Southern California

Re: OAUSA Net - March 21, 2019 - Camp Cooking Methods


Post by DaveK » Wed Mar 20, 2019 8:13 pm


There are a number of different ways we've seen that campers us to cook meals. There is no one way that is best, just what works best for you. If you have camped for very long, you have probably settled into your favorite way, but trying out different ways to cook a meal can offer a whole new set of advantages.

In the years I have been camping, I have primarily cooked over open fires or used used traditional liquid fuel stoves. Each way produced outstanding meals and had distinctive benefits. The actual device in which the food was cooked was either a grille over an open fire or in certain utensils (pots pans, etc.) over the flame of a stove.


Depending on the wood, the taste of a meal cooked over an open fire is second to none. My favorite wood for cooking is Juniper, which is usually found in desert and some low elevation mountain locations. Camping in the Eastern California Mojave Desert for many years afforded me the opportunity to BBQ some fabulous meals, cooked over juniper. The smell of the juniper, mixed with the aroma of the food, as it cooks, is just one of the best parts of a camping trip.

The flavor that the juniper imparts to the food is sensational, and it has worked for us with steaks, chicken, quail, venison, and other game meat. If you haven't used this method, you owe it to yourself to give it a try.

Cooking over fire.jpg
Cooking over fire.jpg (541.03 KiB) Viewed 612 times


You might think that carrying an oven on a camping trip would be clumsy, and most of all, very heavy and difficult to stow in your vehicle. Not so!!! Coleman makes an inexpensive, compact, and relatively efficient camp oven that collapses to store easily, in even smallish vehicles. We have used this oven to prepare a huge variety of things, including baked potatoes (as many as 10), Cinnabons, muffins, pastries, breakfast egg McMuffins, appetizers and more. The door contains a thermometer, and with reasonable attention, you can maintain a constant temperature for cooking.

Coleman Oven.jpg
Coleman Oven.jpg (161.91 KiB) Viewed 611 times


In recent years, I have really come to rely almost entirely on my pressure cooker to prepare meals, mainly dinners, and for several very good reasons:
  • The entire meal can be prepared in one pot
  • the pressure cooker is not affected by altitude
  • since the pot is sealed, more of the nutrients remain in the food
  • the pressure used to cook also infuses great flavor to the food
  • meals can be fully cooked in a fraction of the time by other methods, (saves fuel)
  • meals are served piping hot (especially appreciated when the weather turns cold)
  • the pressure cooker takes up no more room that any other pots
This is the pressure cooker I use, and it can feed up to 7-8 people.

Pressure Cooker.JPG
Pressure Cooker.JPG (78.19 KiB) Viewed 611 times


Stoves are the traditional and most common method for outdoor cooking. The leader for many years was, and still is, Coleman. While today's Coleman stoves are different than those of years past, they still offer a great option for all of your cooking needs. I was raised with and still have several Coleman Stoves, but I am partial to the older ones as they seem to be made better and are sturdier. Regardless, they are still well made and will serve the outdoor cook for many years. And, one of the nice things about Coleman products is that replacement parts for older stoves are still available.

Some years ago, on a river rafting trip, I was introduced to several products made by the Partner Steel Company, including their stoves, the Wishy Washy and their tables (https://partnersteel.com/cook-partner.) It didn't take long to see that Partner Steel made superior products, designed to meet the demanding needs of professional river rafting guides as well as campers. I have been using their double burner stove and have nothing but praise for its performance, compact size, rugged construction, and attention to detail.

From the Partner Steel Website:

Partner Steel Double Burner Stove.JPG
Partner Steel Double Burner Stove.JPG (16.13 KiB) Viewed 611 times

Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.
Moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.

User avatar
Site Admin
Posts: 3472
Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2008 10:33 am
Call Sign: K6DTK
Location: Southern California

Re: OAUSA Net - March 21, 2019 - Camp Cooking Methods


Post by DaveK » Wed Mar 20, 2019 9:09 pm


Success in cooking means more than just the methods. There are some tools that are necessary in order to make the cooking process simple and easy, as well as safe. The tools we mention below have served us well, and with some refinements, have made meal prep a pleasant process.


Every one joining in the meal, and especially the cook, needs to remove the dust and grime from their hands. I have mentioned this product before, but the Wishy Washy deserves another mention, considering it's importance. it is foot operated, so hands never have to touch the "water faucet." Here is what it looks like as recommended by the manufacturer:

Wishy Washy DTK.JPG
Wishy Washy DTK.JPG (229.99 KiB) Viewed 610 times

The only objection that I had was the bucket. It was bulky and difficult to stow in the 4x4, but mostly, cleaning the gunk from the bucket when we were ready to leave camp was not just a messy operation, but it just added another delay to packing things up. The solution - eliminate the bucket altogether. I created a stand that allows for mounting the tube, and now packing up the Wishy Washy is quick and easy, and it's easier to stow. Dig a hole for the water and bury it when you leave. This is the new improved DTK Wishy Washy:

Wishy Washy  Improved DTK.jpg
Wishy Washy Improved DTK.jpg (128.71 KiB) Viewed 611 times


Great cooking begins with the essentials. The first, of course, is having a suitable cooking station. Since we are gearing this discussion to camp cooking, and since it is necessary to carry all of the essentials we need to camp, then the equipment that we carry must be compact and light enough to be stowed in the vehicle.

Cooking stations can be placed into two general categories, both of which will be discussed during the net. The two types are tail gate cooking and cooking on some sort of a table that accommodates your style. This post will focus on the portable tables that can serve the outdoor chef.

There are a variety of tables that will suit the needs of the cook, but there are a couple of standouts that offer more than others. Ideally, the cooking station should have the following:
  • a shelf to accommodate the stove that you use and which is at a comfortable height
  • side tables and shelves for utensils and food prep
  • a fixture that will accommodate a light
  • paper towel holder
  • compact, light weight and sturdy
  • easy and quick set-up and take down
  • hooks to hold utensils and gear
  • reasonably priced
Here are some suggestions:

GCI Outdoor Slim-Fold Cook Station

Thee Slim Fold Station is an excellent cooking station and with the exception of the light fixture and the paper towel holder, it meets all of the needs mentioned above. Priced at about $85.00, with a steel frame, it is an excellent choice. Check out the GSI website, https://www.gcioutdoor.com/camp-tables/ ... tation.htm.

From the GSI website

GSI Cook Station.jpg
GSI Cook Station.jpg (232.8 KiB) Viewed 610 times

The GSI station folded up.

GSI Slim Cook Station.jpg
GSI Slim Cook Station.jpg (88.64 KiB) Viewed 610 times

Cabela's Instant Cook Station

Cabela's now offers a full line of outdoor cook stations,( http://www.cabelas.com/category/Camp-Ki ... 248980.uts ) but for the most part they are a little bulky and heavy. Depending, however, on how much storage space your rig has and how big your dinner list will be, the larger units can be very useful.

Although difficult to find now, the Instant Cook Station, below, was another excellent choice.

Cabelas Instant Cook Station.JPG
Cabelas Instant Cook Station.JPG (185.43 KiB) Viewed 610 times

While the Cabela's cook station had a paper towel holder, it suffered from a tendency to allow the paper towels to become unrolled as soon as the wind whipped up. Here is an example of where ingenuity took over. Below is my solution to returning to camp after a day of exploring only to find that the paper towels were all over camp. It is simply a sheet of aluminum of sufficient weight to keep the towels on the roll.

Paper towel damper (Large).JPG
Paper towel damper (Large).JPG (109.98 KiB) Viewed 610 times

Different Cook Stations in the Wilderness

Even tables,without all the options and extras, can be useful, as seen from this picture.

Camp Kitchen #4.JPG
Camp Kitchen #4.JPG (554.54 KiB) Viewed 610 times

And, Finally,The Dinner Table

camp dinner table 2 (Large).JPG
camp dinner table 2 (Large).JPG (191.39 KiB) Viewed 610 times
Dinner on the Rim.jpg
Dinner on the Rim.jpg (836.28 KiB) Viewed 610 times

Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.
Moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.

User avatar
Posts: 358
Joined: Thu Feb 20, 2014 11:25 pm
Call Sign: KK6DGL

Re: OAUSA Net - March 21, 2019 - Camp Cooking Methods


Post by KAP » Wed Mar 20, 2019 11:14 pm

Dave and Tom
Please check us in.
Kevin KK6DGL
When cooking for a large group, it is nice to have more than one cook surface. We used two camp stoves
D8660A08-3138-4103-B87D-12C9901840FB.jpeg (992.23 KiB) Viewed 608 times
Eggs easy over.
8F00AF34-DF77-4D95-99BE-2AAF222B290F.jpeg (882.93 KiB) Viewed 608 times
BorregoFest 2018 Jack and I prepared breakfast sandwhiches for the group. It helps to have a way to keep food warm. The foil containers work well on the griddle or above coals.
65192EDD-55A5-40D3-B61E-F7D37F773EED.jpeg (988.15 KiB) Viewed 608 times

User avatar
Posts: 358
Joined: Thu Feb 20, 2014 11:25 pm
Call Sign: KK6DGL

Re: OAUSA Net - March 21, 2019 - Camp Cooking Methods


Post by KAP » Wed Mar 20, 2019 11:28 pm

Cast iron
32653C57-8CB2-473B-9013-8BFFE348C175.jpeg (959.64 KiB) Viewed 608 times
Typical Dutch Oven Setup
3FB72D05-7B67-476F-A95E-61D228D1BC8D.jpeg (1.38 MiB) Viewed 608 times
Italian Sausage and Peppers
F6D2B7E0-783D-49E3-B03F-FEE92A1F2A93.jpeg (1.04 MiB) Viewed 608 times

User avatar
Posts: 358
Joined: Thu Feb 20, 2014 11:25 pm
Call Sign: KK6DGL

Re: OAUSA Net - March 21, 2019 - Camp Cooking Methods


Post by KAP » Wed Mar 20, 2019 11:44 pm

Packaged or Pre-prepared ingredients can make great meals much easier to complete.
Vacuume packed rotisserie chicken can also make meal prep much safer when on multi day excursions.
08ED035F-7058-4CCE-8232-700946D53581.jpeg (937.98 KiB) Viewed 608 times
Skillet chicken from above ingredients in background. Dutch oven carrot cake in foreground.
27BF9F2D-B944-4A9F-83DD-DA27556D90B8.jpeg (777.84 KiB) Viewed 608 times
We never seem to be short of wine!

User avatar
OAUSA Board Member
Posts: 815
Joined: Wed Mar 12, 2008 11:50 am
Call Sign: KI6FHA
Location: Redondo Beach CA (5 miles south of LAX)

Re: OAUSA Net - March 21, 2019 - Camp Cooking Methods


Post by toms » Thu Mar 21, 2019 8:16 am

My favorite cooking methods are in order:

1 Have Dave and Hector do all the cooking! They are great cooks and make wonderful complex meals. Not the simple 2 items like my next method.

2 Cook meat on a grill over a bed of wood coals supplemented with a wedge of lettuce and a beer.

3 Use a Dutch oven to bake, fry, stew, … Some tasty stuff but lots of effort and time. People question if the transport weight is a problem and if the Dutch oven will break when we do the Rubicon or similar trail. Nope!

4 Grill using a small propane BBQ

5. Pan fry in my cast iron pan on a propane stove top. Did 3 pork chop last week this way on a trip in Death Valley. They were delicious! It was almost 7pm and I had no desire to wait for the fire to create coals!

Cooking001m[1].jpg (350.02 KiB) Viewed 602 times
This is my new approach. Instead of 1 big grill that I needed to carry on the roof rack, I now have two smaller ones in a box that will fit inside. The box keeps everything clean - the grill from dust and bug and the rest of the gear from dirty grills.
Grill Box.jpg
Grill Box.jpg (370.93 KiB) Viewed 601 times

Since you can't rely on Dave & Hector being present you need to be prepared to grill. And in the event that wind or fire restrictions prevent open fires you need to be prepared with a gas stove or gas BBQ. A BBQ grill this size is $25 on sale or maybe $50 if you buy the top of the line. With the side handles removed, it packs better. Someday, I might build a box for it but in the meantime, the cardboard keep the rest of the gear and the vehicle clean.
Small Propane BBQ.jpg
Small Propane BBQ.jpg (336.89 KiB) Viewed 601 times
425 D.jpg
425 D.jpg (337.66 KiB) Viewed 601 times
This 425D Colman stove is from sometime in the 1960's. Picked it up for $15 at a yard sale. It has provided great service ever since

In California we need two set ups for cooking. Part of the year we pack wood and the fire grill and during fire restriction season, the wood and grill stay home and we pack a small propane BBQ and a propane camp fire ring. In both situations a propane camp stove is loaded up too. In my case, it is an old Colman 425D 2 burner stove.

A tail gate makes a great kitchen and when I can I make full use of it.
20141231_092122tight[1].jpg (1.49 MiB) Viewed 602 times
BTW, the tall green box being used as a wind break, is the large grill box. (the little green box holds a 12Qt Dutch oven).

OF course you can never have enough space and this little table can serve in the kitchen or for 1 or 2 to eat. I hate eating on my lap. I always spill something off the plate.
Small camp table.jpg
Small camp table.jpg (331.73 KiB) Viewed 601 times

Here is a better picture of the chuck box and the red food box. Note the water jug and hand soap. Hygiene is important when cooking and eating.

Chuck box
DSC04235.JPG (1.57 MiB) Viewed 601 times
See you on the Trail!

Badlands Off-Road

Posts: 135
Joined: Thu Jul 21, 2016 9:12 pm
Call Sign: KK6WXQ

Re: OAUSA Net - March 21, 2019 - Camp Cooking Methods


Post by JackM-KK6WXQ » Thu Mar 21, 2019 10:19 am

Dutch ovens are terrific for camp cooking. The only drawback is that they are a little heavy so they may not be a first choice for backpacking. Other than that... so many things can be cooked in them. Here is an example of one favorite that many people seem to enjoy.

Outdoor Adventure Tri-Tip

I call it Outdoor Adventure Tri-Tip because it was first enjoyed at an Outdoor Adventure Borrego Fest. Here is what happened: We were getting ready to make dinner and Dave (K6DTK) had opened a can of Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce and only used one or two of the peppers. About to discard the remaining contents, he was extolling the rich awesomeness of these little gems. So what the heck, I simply used the remaining peppers on top of the Tri-Tip I was going to cook and the outcome was… well, Tri-Tip Heaven.
Slicing.jpg (219.47 KiB) Viewed 599 times
Costco Seasoned Tri-Tip
1 bottle of good red wine
1 can of 7 oz of Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce
1 yellow onion
1 or 2 bell peppers (I like one red and one green)

Costco sells a pre-seasoned Tri-Tip that can be found in a blue tray under cellophane wrap. It is sold as a single or with two Tri-Tip roasts together as shown here.
Tri-Tip-1.jpg (115.05 KiB) Viewed 599 times

Slice the onion and bell peppers and place in the bottom of a 12 inch Dutch oven. If you slice the onions a little thick, they can be used as an "onion trivet" under the meat. Next Place one or both Tri-Tip Roasts in the Dutch oven.

Open 1 can of Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce and place the peppers on top of the Tri-Tip.

Finally, pour about one half bottle of your favorite red wine into the Dutch oven. Now don't use just any cheap red wine. It is important to use a nice Cabernet. Next pour the remaining wine into one or two glasses for the cook and a guest. DO NOT SKIP THIS IMPORTANT STEP.

Place the Dutch oven on about 6 to 8 charcoal briquettes and place 16 on the lid.
This will give you about 325-350 degrees.

Rotate the oven and the lid about every 15 minutes or so and cook for about 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand for about 10 minutes. (it will still be cooking so don't leave it too long or the meat will be over done.

Remove the chipotle peppers into the bottom of the oven. Slice the roast across the grain and serve immediately. The reduced wine, peppers, and onions will make a delightful topping and au jus…
Tri-Tip.jpg (245.63 KiB) Viewed 599 times
IMG_3932.jpg (111.38 KiB) Viewed 599 times

User avatar
OAUSA Board Member
Posts: 236
Joined: Thu Aug 29, 2013 9:07 pm
Call Sign: KK6DYO

Re: OAUSA Net - March 21, 2019 - Camp Cooking Methods


Post by KK6DYO » Thu Mar 21, 2019 10:49 am

Please check me in for tonight's net.

For Dutch oven and grill users, this well-made Charcoal Starter folds to save space. (But I don't remember it costing so much.) Don't forget the newspaper!
CharcoalStarter.jpg (76.44 KiB) Viewed 598 times

This well-made Grill also folds. A smaller size is available.
Grill.jpg (115.58 KiB) Viewed 598 times

Post Reply


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests